Heidi Meier participated in the Internship Program in the Spring of 2018, interning with CASA DeKalb County. Her internship experience, combined with her education, prepared her for a career in the nonprofit sector as a Volunteer Coordinator with Journeys.
Q: What was the biggest benefit and/or the best part of your internship experience?
Heidi: The biggest benefit of my internship experience was getting to learn about a nonprofit from the inside. That “behind the scenes” experience really opened my eyes to how much hard work and dedication staff members and volunteers put in to serve the community.
Q: In your opinion, why should students pursue internship opportunities?
Heidi: Students should pursue internship opportunities because they are extremely beneficial in preparing for future careers in nonprofits. Being able to see what happens on the operations side, instead of just volunteering, really gives them the hands-on experience that they will be able to carry throughout their careers.
Q: What are you up to now?
Heidi: I am currently the Volunteer Coordinator at a nonprofit organization called JOURNEYS | The Road Home. JOURNEYS provides both shelter and social services to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in 37 towns in the north and northwest suburbs of Cook County. I oversee the volunteer program that consists of over 2,500 volunteers that donate their time to the PADS shelters and the HOPE Center, which is our day center. I mainly coordinate our volunteer orientations, train and schedule HOPE Center volunteers, attend volunteer fairs and community outreach events, and organize our new “Mobile Meals Program.”
Q: Please share any additional comments you have about your internship experience.
Heidi: Thank you so much to the Roberts Family Foundation! I would not be where I am today without the support from all of the funders. This internship was extremely beneficial in getting me to where I am today. It is an experience that I will remember forever. Thank you again!
The Internship Program is a collaboration between the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership, the Center for Nonprofit Studies, and Career Services at Northern Illinois University, supported by the Douglas C. and Lynn M. Roberts Family Foundation.